Have you ever tried the spicy and tangy aloo dum from phuchkawala in Kolkata? It is one of the spiciest thing you can ever eat. The heat from chilies and sour taste of the tamarind pulp mixed with the just well done baby potatoes, makes this street food one of my favorite. As I am writing this post, I am literally salivating remembering the paper plate full of fingerlicking good baby potatoes aloo dum on my last trip to Kolkata.
Potatoes have a special place in every Bengali’s heart. The comforting aloo chokha (Bengali version of mashed potatoes) or half cut potatoes in kansha mangsho (spicy mutton curry) – we like our potatoes anywhere and everywhere. But when it comes to aloo dum – it is like a Christmas in summer. The Kolkata street style aloo dum is a favorite everywhere whether it’s a side for luchi on a Sunday morning or an accompaniment with alcohol on a Friday night party. Try this recipe and you’ll know what I mean. You can also serve this aloo dum on phuchka to make alu dum phuchka, load it with loads of green chilies, cilantro and dash of tamarind pulp. I have adapted this recipe from Ishita’s Kolkata style spicy baby potatoes.
Kolkata Style Aloo Dum
- 1 lb boiled baby potatoes
- 2 - 3 big bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon rock salt
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, coarsely grounded
- 2 - 3 green chilies, coarsely chopped, optional
- 2 tablespoon mustard oil
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar, optional
- Mix a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and sugar, if using with the baby potatoes. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, and fry the potatoes till they start turning slightly brown about 3 minutes. Take out of the pan and keep aside
- In the same pan add the chopped onions and bay leaves and fry till the onion is almost done, about 5 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic paste and fry for another 2 -3 minutes, or till the oil starts separating
- In the meantime, in a small bowl take about ¼ cup water and all the dry spice powder, stir to make a smooth paste. Pour in the spice paste to the fried onion mix and toss for a minute.
- Add the reserved baby potatoes and pour in the tamarind paste. Toss to coat. Pour about a cup of water and season with salt, if you are using rock salt then use little less salt than you would use.
- Cook on high for about 5 minutes or till the potatoes break once pressed
- Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped cilantro, green chilies and roasted cumin powder, sprinkle the rock salt and pour in the lime juice
- Boil the potatoes skin on and about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Boil till the potatoes are not fully cooked. Once you are able to touch the potatoes, peel the skin off
- When serving you can pour another tablespoon of tamarind pulp thinned with water, to get a tangy taste
- The spice level mentioned above will yield a mildly spiced aloo dum, if you want more heat add more chili powder to the aloo dum
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Though I have been calling Texas my home for the last 3 years, I got the chance to live in Big Apple for sometime. I may sound cliche, but living 2 blocks away from Times Square was like a dream come true. Raised in Kolkata, I’m used to the noise, dirt and crowd of cities. Probably, thats one of the reasons why NYC became so close to my heart.
Just as you step into the streets of Manhattan, there is so much to see and do – that you feel like getting lost in those streets. NYC has its own charm. The city has a lot to offer, and talking about food, no city in US and probably in the world has so much variety than Manhattan. From $500 pre fixe menus to $5 meals – Manhattan has it all.
If you are in New York city and want to grab a quick bite without burning a hole in your pocket, the carts on the streets of Manhattan is your answer. There are hundreds of carts selling tens of different type of food – from gyros to pretzels. One such cart, one of my most favorite cart food is on the intersection of Broadway and 39th street. This Bangladeshi guys offers the best chicken over rice in all of Manhattan.
As the name suggests, the menu is simple – bite size pieces of chicken cooked in mild spices served over a bed of flavored Basmati rice with a side of salads and your choice of sauce poured to make this meal a class apart.
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Ask any Bengali what adda means, the answer will be unanimously a lazy evening, a large bowl of puffed rice and plate full of beguni. If you have never tested or tasted this pleasure, then you should do this evening. I am sure that the begunis bring out loads of more lost stories from your heart than you really intend to spill :).
When I had posted a little note on the Cook Like a Bong Facebook fanpage requesting for entries as guest posts in our blog, Arundhuti from My Saffron Kitchen was the first to reply. I was more than happy to accept this offer from such a dear friend. Arundhuti is an excellent person and you can dig into her blog to have great ideas for your next meal.
A darling ally and a plate full of begunis, what more can I wish. Here’s the quick and easy recipe of beguni straight from Arundhuti’s kitchen.
Deep fried aubergine fritters
- Eggplants (baingan) – 1 large, cut into thin slices
- Gram flour – 1 cup
- Refined flour – 1/4 cup
- Onion seeds – 1 tsp.
- Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp.
- Baking soda – 1/2 tsp.
- Salt as per taste
- Enough water to make a thick batter
- Oil for frying
- Mix together the gramflour, refined flour, onions seeds, red chilli powder, baking soda, salt and water.
- Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Lower the heat.
- Dip the eggplant pieces in the batter and then fry in hot oil till they are cooked and golden brown in colour.
- Drian excess oil and serve hot.
Read more at Arundhuti’s blog.
Further readings – Lotiya Vada, Macher dimer Vada (Roe fritters)
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